Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda: The Social Reformer and a Great Spiritual Leader

Swami Vivekananda was born Narendranath Datta on 12 Jan 1863 in an aristocratic Bengali Family at Calcutta, West Bengal. Narendranath Datta was a great orator, social reformer, philosopher, and spiritual leader. He was inclined towards spirituality at the young age of 25 after he followed his guru Ramakrishna ,become a monk and founded the Ramakrishna math and Ramakrishna mission afterward. Later At the first Parliament of World’s Religions in 1893 at Chicago, he represented India and Hinduism. On 19 Feb after a successful Chicago tour, he return back to India.

February 19, 2022: 126th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda Kolkata Return

February 19, 2022 marked the 126th year of the return of Swami Vivekananda to Kolkata after capturing the hearts of the people in the ‘World Religions Meet’ in Chicago. In the midst of Vivekananda’s pleasant boat trip from Madras to Calcutta (now Chennai and Kolkata), a committee was preparing an appropriate welcome for him in Calcutta. Swamiji and his group arrived by train in Calcutta on February 19, 1897, from Budge Budge on the steamer.

At the railroad station, a huge crowd gathered, huge arches were built, students pulled an unharnessed carriage, and there was a large procession with music & religious songs.

The Influence Continues

Raja Benoy Krishna Deb presided over a public reception on February 28, 1897. The meeting was attended by about 5,000 people. Swamiji once again urged the people to return to the Upanishads’ perennial philosophy. Sri Ramakrishna was also honored in his tribute.

“If anything has ever been accomplished by me, whether by thoughts, words, or deeds, if from my lips has ever come a word that has ever helped anyone anywhere in the world, I do not claim it; it was his.

Even if curses have fallen from my lips and hate has been expressed, those things are all mine, not his. He has given me all that has been strong; all that has been life-giving, strengthening, pure, and holy has come from his words and from his inspiration. Indeed, my friends, that man is yet to be known to the world.”

Sri Ramakrishna, Swamiji, Panchvati & More 

Soon after Swamiji’s arrival in Calcutta, Shri Ramakrishna’s birth anniversary was celebrated at Dakshineswar. He gave another public lecture titled, “Vedanta in All Its Phases.”

Swamiji participated in the festival with his brothers. On the holy grounds, he walked barefoot.

He was stirred up by emotion during his visit to the temple, the Master’s room, the Panchavati and other places associated with Sri Ramakrishna. Swami Vivekananda had been inspiring his devotees to give their lives so that the masses of India may be uplifted, especially urging them to provide aid to the hungry and illiterate since the day he conquered Chicago.  

People all over India were excited and joyful upon hearing the news that Swami Vivekananda had left Europe. After completing his mission, the mysterious monk, the spiritual ambassador of their ancient land, was returning home. A reception committee was formed in large towns to receive him.

Several of his students from Bengal and the northern provinces showed up in Madras to get ready for his arrival. Swami Shivananda came ahead of time to Madras, and Swami Niranjanananda went to Colombo. The newspapers wrote eulogies praising his leadership and character.

Greetings, Accolades & the Essence of Madras

Upon receiving the accolades, Swami Vivekananda remained calm and gracious. Considering himself a penniless Sanyasi, he saw the tributes paid to him as honoring the spiritual ideal of India. There were extensive preparations for Swamiji’s reception in Madras where the enthusiasm of the people was at its peak. The greatness of Vivekananda was first recognized in Madras, where he was prepared for his journey to Chicago.

There were 17 triumphal arches erected on streets and thoroughfares in Madras. Everyone was talking about Swami Vivekananda. As the train steamed into the station, thousands of people cheered for him. There was a formal procession, which took him to ‘Castle Kernan,’ the palatial home of Billigiri Iyengar, where arrangements for his stay had been made. The people of Madras honored Swami Vivekananda at a public meeting on the third day after he arrived.

Last Thoughts

We lack a great idea that the world desires from us today – more from the lower classes than from the upper classes, more from the uneducated than from the educated, more from the weak than from the strong – and it is that eternal grand idea that the entire universe is spiritually one, the only Infinite Reality that exists in us all, and in us all by ourselves, we are all one soul, we are all we are.

Death

Swami Vivekananda died on 4 July 1902 at the age of 39 while performing mediation at the monastery of Belur math for three hours and his disciples states that he has attained mahasamadhi which means to leave one’s body according to one’s will intentionally. His prophecy also came true when he stated that he will not live 40 years. Later he was cremated at the Belur math on the bank of Ganga opposite his Guru Ramakrishna.

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